Author Archives: toritaiyo


Nobody’s perfect 🙂

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Drafting the would-be ultimate free kanji course

  The secret master plan… Shhh, don’t tell anybody…

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Hiragana Course Draft

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Free Alternative to WaniKani – JapanTree Kanji Mnemonics (alternative or complement to WaniKani)

In this video I explain how to use JapanTree Kanji Mnemonics to help you with high school Japanese class kanji tests, college Japanese class kanji tests, or your self-learning kanji progress. Our kanji mnemonics series is free an can be a great alternative to or complement to WaniKani.

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Yasuke is on the way!!!

JapanTree – The Free Japanese Language School –  is proud to present …   Yasuke! THE (almost) ULTIMATE JAPANESE TEXTBOOK & GUIDE TO JAPANESE: An Online Study Outline For Students and Teachers   So far we have the guideline (outline) available as an aid to how to progress with Japanese study. As a work-in-progress, I […]

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Japanese People Forget How To Write Kanji – How to remember the kanji with mnemonics

  Don’t let it happen to you! Learn to write kanji by mnemonics and you just might remember them long after that classroom kanji test… Learning kanji without mnemonics is like learning to spell without having learnt the alphabet!!!!

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The New Japanese Textbook Revolution: knowledge free, paper at a profit

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese. Available on Amazon A Guide to Japanese Grammar: A Japanese approach to learning Japanese grammar   There is a growing movement toward free Japanese textbooks and learning materials, supported by sales of paperback copies. Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese is possibly the first of this kind as far as Japanese […]

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Marcus Bird on effective use of Heisig kanji mnemonics

As I push on with the revolution and dig up and shed light on all the people and websites promoting kanji mnemonics I keep finding more and more youtubers showing how mnemonics have worked for them. I found this video today and I thought it was a good personal experience about how he started using the […]

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Kanshudo’s dojo for kanji mnemonics

The other day I found Kanshudo another e-learning site working on an adaptation of Heisig’s “Remembering The Kanji.” The website is pretty amazing with a beginner and intermediate course, flashcards, quizzes, vocab, and of course Kanji breakdown by component and mnemonics.     Here’s an excerpt from their about page: Kanshudo is the fastest and most enjoyable […]

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Kanji 101 – a great introduction to using Kanji Mnemonics / RTK

I found this well put together overview of learning Kanji with mnemonics and RTK and I thought I’d share it. This a great video for helping beginners see how learning with mnemonics works.   It’s great to find more people using mnemonics and adding to, promoting, and improving Heisig’s RTK.  

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So the other day I found this high quality and thorough review of Heisig’s “Remembering The Kanji” – Remembering the Kanji, volume 1, by James W Heisig I particularly liked: I would love to see someone completely rework this system, and perhaps choose better keywords, and address some of the other problems I mentioned […]

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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

There is a revolution taking place in the way people learn – AND (if I’m successful) teach – Kanji!   The methods are faster, smarter, …. lazier   My goal is to merge mnemonics and context to use neuroscience and tadoku to push these kanji methods into the classroom   And to shine light on […]

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One sweet and succulent dictionary! – an interview with Gregory of the Tangorin dictionary app

Hope you made room for dessert because today you’re in for a treat! We’re chatting it up with Gregory Bobin, creator of Tangorin Japanese dictionary! JapanTree: What motivated you to start your Tangorin project? Gregory: The faculty at my university declined my offer to digitize and open source the kanji learning materials they were distributing […]

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Kanji Link

Found a really interesting site a while back Called kanji-link It has a great introduction to kanji And thought I’d share it. The introduction explains how 75% of the kanji fall under just ~30 radicals! The chart explaining that looks great too. If you’re a teacher its great since its easy to use in […]

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2,136 Kanji OR Die! The 97 Day Kanji Challenge – an interview with Nico from

Alright !!  I’ve got a treat for you! Today I’m chatting with Nico from NihongoShark. His website has plenty of good information for language learners including a free ebook on learning Japanese that gives an excellent overview of what and how to study. If you’re looking for motivation, great advice (some of the best I’ve heard, […]

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Gone Fishin’: for a human approach to Japanese – An interview with Brian Rak of Human Japanese

Today I’m here with Brian Rak of Human Japanese. His app, Human Japanese, is on a mission to help you “get” Japanese in an engaging and human way. This is definitely one program anyone learning Japanese will want to try out (especially self-learners). I know teachers and tutors will love it too. The introduction to hiragana (with […]

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The Internet’s Best Japanese Translation Dictionary – An Interview with Honyaku Star!

Today we’re talking to Mark of LocalizingJapan. Mark is the creator of the Japanese translation dictionary Honyaku Star. “But,” you ask, “just what is a ‘translation dictionary’? What makes it different? And what makes Honyaku Star the best?” Ahh, my friends you’re about to find out. But first, I’d like to say, if you’re like […]

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My Japanese Diploma – years of hard work, money (mostly other people’s), sweat blood tears, created this sheet of paper

My diploma, a bachelors degree, from Jochi University in Tokyo Japan. Earned in 2006. Displayed here in 2014 to say I got one. It is a B.S. in “comparative culture” – the name of all degrees from the then faculty of comparative culture.  In my case it was a degree in International Business, specifically Economics and Comparative […]

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Registering for the J-cat

So, I think it would be great to get rid of the JLPT; J-cat a free test from the Univ. of Tsukuba is a nice alternative. I have registered for the J-Cat and am awaiting my login info. Only being able to take it once in 6 months is a little worrying. I need to […]

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Use your personal Japanese library to teach your students – Pictures of my Japanese language library

During my three years of University in Japan (and in my high school classes) I amassed a small library of Japanese textbooks. I am willing to bet that if you have reached the advanced stages of learning Japanese you have at least a small library too.

On top of that I picked up a ton of cheap books/videos at Book Off during my time in Tokyo. (most of them were only 100 yen ~ $1 USD)

Maybe you have too. If not, maybe you live near a Book Off branch (in the U.S. there is at least one I know of in New York).

Start mining these resources to teach your students Japanese.


Here are some of my Japanese library items:

[caption id="attachment_1773" align="alignnone" width="281"]Yokoso Japanese textbook Yokoso Japan textbook audio CD[/caption]
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Neuroscience and teaching Japanese

In 2012 I went to a seminar taught by the director of (Canadian Institute of English), a PhD in Neuroscience. The course taught laguage teachers a couple dozen methods of teaching. These methods were based on neuroscience and how our brains learn. LONG STORY SHORT our brains learn when our bodies are active. So, sitting […]

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George Lucas influenced by Akira Kurosawa

When my Japanese got to the intermediate level I fell in love with Akira Kurosawa movies. 7 Samurai, Ikiru, Madadayo are some of my favourite movies of all time. (I love the line in Madadayo where the teacher makes “baka” soup – a deer/horse combo. It you know the kanji for baka you know why that’s clever in an […]

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Adventures in Teaching Japanese

If it is your first time here – I am a non-native Japanese teacher. (years of Japanese/ Japanese University grad) I am currently teaching at a small private high school that encourages innovative methods. For me, teaching Japanese is like coming home. It is like giving back. In my senior year of high school my Japanese […]

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Yakitori Sensei ! “I can teach you to learn Japanese and go to Japan”

よこそ! 始めまして「焼き鳥」先生でーす!どぞよろしく Welcome! My students call me “Yakitori Sensei!” It’s nice to meet you! Book my online lessons on Teacher Profile: Japanese is FUN! I work as a Japanese instructor at a small private school in Delray Beach, FL. I also organize classes and tutor individuals. In all my classes I use CIE learning methods. I […]

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An Open Letter

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” — Samuel Adams If you have any part in the J-web I beg you to suffer through this long letter. If I have done my job well it will be more than worth […]

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The J-web economy

Nick Ramsay had an excellent post about his officially becoming a programmer. we want to have lives on our terms. etc. location free. yada yada. post outline is on p.56 of #28 notebook. Hi Philip, Thank you so much for contacting me. I think your nihongoup is a great tool. And I hope it […]

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Questions – to myself and to the community

Reformulating. Rethinking. Lurking. It seems to me that a sustained and useful Japan-related web community requires soul searching. I know that for myself, for me to be a useful and long-term contributor, I have to do soul searching. I have to know what really drives and motivates me; what will really sustain my enthusiasm for […]

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May Toolbar Improvements

I have been rather inactive on the J-web lately but it is always on my mind. Instead I have been digging deeper into the soul searching I started at the end of last year. And I have been tapping into what my passions truly are which I think will ultimately do me and any project […]

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